It's one of the most anticipated SUV introductions in recent memory, and Chrysler knows it. In an abundance of caution, the company is delaying the release of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee to dealers until it can work out final calibration issues on the Cherokee's new nine-speed automatic transmission, The Toledo Blade is reporting. Production of the 2014 Cherokee has been underway at the Toledo plant since June, when Chrysler hired a second shift to scale up production in anticipation of high demand.

To prevent a backlog of excess production before the models are shipped to dealers, Chrysler will temporarily idle the second shift on the Cherokee line, resulting in a temporary layoff of 500 workers. The layoff is expected to last two weeks, as the final calibration issues are worked out on the transmission and drivetrain. Vehicles that have undergone final validation and approval should begin shipping to dealers this week, and should start to arrive in volume in early October.

Chrysler began scaling up employment and facilities at Toledo as far back as April, when 200 new workers were hired, split between Wrangler and 2014 Cherokee production. The Jeep Wrangler, also built at Toledo, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, built at the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit, are consistently two of the top 10 best-selling SUVs in the country. Chrysler is hoping the 2014 Cherokee will join them among the most popular models as a new entry in the popular compact/midsize crossover class.

Source: Toledo Blade